This time I cut my time even finer, and arrived with about 15 minutes to spare before the start of the shorts programme… only to find that it had changed screens and been delayed by an hour. Oh well. I sat and read for a little bit and had a brief chat with the person behind the t-shirt desk. I set an early high score on her “name the associated film” challenge by getting all but one of them. I only missed a single t-shirt movie connection – which was apparently Blade Runner related. I’ll have to rewatch the film and see where it comes up, because it’s one of my favourite films and I didn’t recognise it even when told. Oh no, what a hardship. I’ll have to watch Blade Runner again.

Blink of an Eye: Shorts Programme 1

I’ve seen two sets of “shorts previews” at Eastercons in the past, and have enjoyed both of them thoroughly. When I decided I was going to go along to see things at Sci-Fi London, I was determined to take in at least one of the three sets of shorts. Sadly, I only managed to fit one into my schedule… but I did manage to see a few more through the festival and in the previously mentioned previews at Eastercon. If I can remember and identify those, I’ll add comments on those afterwards.

Short: Decapoda Shock

I saw this one at Eastercon, and didn’t even slightly mind seeing it again. A glorious tale of human space explorer mutated into crab-man-thing, returning to earth, fighting conspiracies and winning the day… with a rather nice macabre sting at the end.

Short: The Attic

This one was rather sweet, and not in a cloying way. It’s a story of a man and his estranged young daughter finding each other through the power of music, as inspired by a Ziggy Stardust like figure who may or may not live in the attic. I liked it, but must admit that I found it a little sacharine at times.

Short: Dr. Glamour

Another that I’d seen at Eastercon, this one is a glorious musical number that’s best described as one part steampunk, one part cthulhu, one part rocky horror. I must confess that, fun as it is, I much preferred the silent-movie style first part. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of it’s good and fun, but the first part (especially the moment that the male & female leads first really notice each other) is quite, quite glorious.

Short: This Is Not Real

I don’t really know what to make of this one, so I’ll just say it looked good and that I didn’t hate it. Then I’ll move on.

Short: Vessel

I saw this one at Eastercon too. It irked me a bit there, and it still irks me a bit now. It plays like it’s setting up for a “sting in the tail” kind of deal, to deliver a cautionary tale… and then there isn’t a sting. It feels like somebody forgot to add a story.

Short: Alchemy and Other Imperfections

I really, really liked this one… although I will admit that I’m making a deliberate choice to interpret parts of it (a memory that the female character is trying to remove from the male character) in a charitable way. If taken a different way, I’d find it more questionable. I prefer to be charitable in this instance… and either way, I can’t fault anything else about it.

Short: Robots of Brixton

I want to like this more than I do, but the references to the brixton race riots felt a little bit heavy handed to me. Either way, it’s an impressive piece of work… and I can’t fault it for having a message to it, and sometime heavy handed messages are needed. I also can’t fault the general production or the talent that went into it. It’s certainly powerful and memorable.

Short: Infinite Loop

Imagine Primer or Timecrimes, but instead of a time machine, use the bathroom of a student flat, and complicate the plot with a third flatmate who just wants a shower. Add a pot-plant as a handy macguffin and you’re golden. All good fun.

Short: Bobby Yeah

What. The. Shit. I repeat. What. The. Shit.

It’s like a creepy, psychosexual body-horror nightmare made of intestines and toenail clippings with an excellent dirty bass soundtrack. In fact, it’s not like that at all. It IS that.

There’s a trailer over here. It doesn’t do it justice. I want to get to another screening just to sit with my back to the screen and watch the audience reactions.

Other Shorts

As mentioned earlier, I caught a few other shorts.

Short: W.A.

This is entirely based on a very, very bad joke. It’s great if the audience are prepared to groan along with the joke at the end. When I saw it at eastercon they did, but this time they didn’t… which is a shame. (seen at eastercon and before a sci-fi london film)

Short: 8:31

Set in the last moments of light before the sun is due to go dark forever, effectively ending life on earth, a man and woman race to the hospital as she goes into labour. (seen at an eastercon preview)

Short: Blind Spot

I can say nothing here without spoiling it, but I found it excellent. Some of the physics in the background events slightly ropey, but that nitpick shouldn’t distract anybody. It’s just something that’s bugged me in so many films that now I can’t see it without it having a “gah!” moment. (seen before two sci-fi london films)

Short: How to kill your clone

A nice idea for a short, and it looked very good… but it felt muddled to me to the point of labouring it’s joke too much. As a short, I think it needed to be just a little bit shorter. (seen before a sci-fi london film)

Short: ERROR 0036

Automated call centres & helpdesk runarounds. We’ve all been there. I’ve certainly been there. I’ll even admit to having been on both sides of the call, although I always tried to be more helpful than the examples here. (seen at an eastercon preview)

Film 5 – The Last Push

The Last Push was the fifth film I saw at the festival, and it was on it’s second screening… which was packed.

First, a shout out for the lead actor. This film is essentially carried by one guy – Khary Payton – who’s more usually a voice actor for cartoon and video game work. He carries it very well indeed. It’s quite a subtle performance at times, as he’s playing somebody who’s generally fairly taciturn to begin with, and has the traditional astronaut calm about him.

Second, a shout out for the set. It’s perfect. It’s realistic, appropriate and claustrophobic whilst having just enough space to let the plot move. The rest of the cast, small though their roles were, were also universally excellent.

Third, the plot. It’s not really a spoiler to say that the exploratory mission to jupiter’s moons doesn’t go entirely as planned… but the way it doesn’t go to plan is excellent, thoroughly plausable and very nicely handled indeed.

In case you’ve not worked it out already, I loved it. So far, I’d call this my highlight of the festival… and it’s up against some stiff competition.